“Material Expression and Maternalism in Mary Baker Eddy’s Boston Churches: How Architecture and Gender Compromised Mind”
Kilde, Jeanne Halgren. “Material Expression and Maternalism in Mary Baker Eddy’s Boston Churches: How Architecture and Gender Compromised Mind.” Material Religion 1, no. 2 (2005): 164–97.
Kilde, specializing on the intersection of religion and architecture, describes the original 1895 Mother Church edifice as very feminine with its stained-glass windows depicting many female biblical figures and the “domestic intimacy” of its Victorian interior (166). She contrasts this with the masculine “cavernous” Renaissance-style classicism of the Extension built in 1906 with its “ambience of public majesty” (167). For Kilde, the two very different buildings, erected twelve years apart, illustrate a significant transformation in theological meaning and worship practice. Two contributing factors influenced this transformation: Christian Science theology and gender. The original Mother Church, built under Mary Baker Eddy’s close supervision, was a metaphorical articulation of both Eddy’s theological understanding of God as Mother and Father and her mothering of her flock. In the intervening years, the maternal trope proved too cultish and was abandoned. The more “metaphysical” Extension would underscore the more rational science element of Christian Science (188), personify the growing movement’s masculine-like preoccupation with its public, corporate image, and contain no traditional Christian iconography. Eddy ended up with much ambivalence toward the Extension because it drew attention to conspicuous materialism, and she did not want to beget rivalry among the churches.
Print ISSN: 1743-2200
Annotations related by category:
- Availability: Online - Academic Credentials or Fee
- Official Christian Science Publication: No
- Organizations: The First Church of Christ, Scientist
- People: Eddy, Mary Baker
- Publication Date: 2001-2010
- Resource Types: Article
- Subjects: Arts
- Subjects: Christian Science and Architecture
- Subjects: Feminist Perspectives